On 8 March 2019, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published Policy Statement PS19/7 (Policy Statement) introducing the ‘Directory’, a new public register for financial services which will include information specifically on individuals. The Policy Statement summarises the feedback to Consultation Paper 18/19 and sets out the final rules establishing the Directory.
The Financial Services Register (FS Register) provides information on firms regulated by the FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority, including information on a firm’s senior management. Following the extension of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) to insurers and solo-regulated firms, the FS Register will only include individuals that are approved by the FCA for specified Senior Manager roles. The Directory will contain a wider range of individuals, including advisers, traders, portfolio managers as well as providers of mortgage advice. Consumers will be able to use the Directory to verify whether an individual works for an authorised firm.
More specifically, the Directory will provide information on three categories of individuals:
- certified staff, i.e. individuals with a certification function under the SMCR;
- executive and non-executive directors not performing Senior Management Functions; and
- sole traders or appointed representatives with a customer-facing role.
What should firms do?
Firms will be required to provide the FCA with certain information about their firm and their relevant staff. This includes any restrictions applying to a firm’s regulated activities as well as details about the specific individual and the type of business the individual is qualified to undertake. Banks, insurers and their appointed representatives need to make their submissions by 9 March 2020. All other firms that are authorised to provide financial services and are currently subject to the approved persons regime, including sole traders, need to submit the relevant information by 9 December 2020. These deadlines are aligned with the SMCR transitional arrangements for insurers and solo-regulated firms that require these firms to certify their staff as fit and proper within 12 months from the commencement of the regime. The Directory will go live in two phases shortly after the expiry of the respective submission deadlines.
Firms need to start taking steps to gather the necessary information and verify its accuracy before submission. Firms will make their submissions through the FCA’s Connect system starting from September 2019 for banks and insurers and December 2019 for all FCA regulated firms. Firms will also need to update the information provided within seven business days when a change occurs.